Dear Carmel Creek Families,
I hope this letter finds you and your family safe and healthy. Last week I shared strategies for creating some routine and a daily schedule during the school closure. I hope that these resources were helpful in establishing some normalcy in your home during these very unusual times. Please be patient with yourself. It always take a few days and maybe even weeks for a new routine to be established and to achieve a level of cadence.
I realize for that the introduction to distance learning came fast for all of us. There are many successes to celebrate big or small. The act of logging onto to SeeSaw and posting a message to your teacher is a success. Helping your child complete an assignment in Google Classroom or maybe your child teaching you how to post and assignment is a success. Having the opportunity to jointly read a favorite book or play a board game together is a success. Drawing pictures with your child or baking together is a success. My hope is that you found success in the first week of Distance Learning with your child at some level.
I would be naïve in believing that the roll-out of distance learning has been smooth and easy. This is new for all of us: the child as the learner, the parent as the supporter/teacher and the teacher as the facilitator. When we add the additional stresses of parents working from home, managing social emotional issues of family members, and the uncertainty of the future, I understand that you may be experiencing resistance from your child and some unusual behaviors.
First, I want you to give yourself and your child grace. As I said above, this is new. With anything new, there are hiccups and barriers. It is when we get through the difficult times, that we build resilience and confidence.
Today, I would like to equip you with some strategies that may help you when your child is not motivated to complete activities/assignments, responding with “I don’t know how to do that”, or resistant to Distance Learning in general. It is important to recognize that a child will sometimes choose these behaviors because they have learned that we, as the adults, will “take on” the problem for the child, thus, allowing the child to relinquish ownership of the situation. If the adult relieves the child of their problem and solves it for the child enough times, the child learns that (a) I don’t have to solve my own problems and (b) my parents don’t think I can solve my own problems. In education, we call this “learned helplessness”.
In the classroom, we often use strategies from the Love and Logic Institute to help with situations like this. The Love and Logic Institute is dedicated to making parenting and teaching fun and rewarding, instead of stressful and chaotic. Love and Logic provides practical tools and techniques that help adults achieve respectful, healthy relationships with their children. For more information about Love and Logic, visit https://www.loveandlogic.com/.
One of my favorite resources from Logic and Logic is Guiding Children to Solve their Own Problems (https://www.loveandlogic.com/a/info/guiding-children-to-solve-their-own-problems). This strategy can be used when your child is reluctant to begin or try a task or to solve a problem.
During Distance Learning, if your child responds with “I don’t know how to do this” or “This is too hard”, you can try these Love and Logic steps:
Love and Logic Step 1: Empathy (The key here is to show concern, but keep it short.)
- I’m sorry, buddy. I know this can be hard.
- I bet it’s tough having to learn from home.
Love and Logic Step 2: Send a Power Message
- What do you think you are going to do?
Love and Logic Step 3: Offer Choices
- "Would you like to hear what other kids have tried?"
- At this point, offer a variety of choices that range from bad to good. It's usually best to start out with the poor choices.
- For Distance Learning, some options could be:
- Some people might complete the part of the task they understand and then ask for help.
- Some students might send a message to their teacher on Seesaw or Google Classroom and ask for help.
- Some students might just not turn in a response.
- Some students might call a friend and ask them for help.
- Each time a choice is offered, go on to step four, forcing the youngster to state the consequence in his/her own words. This means that you will be going back and forth between Love and Logic steps three and four.
Love and Logic Step 4: Have the child state the consequences (both positive and negative).
- “And how do you think that will that work?”
Love and Logic Step 5: Give permission for the child to either solve the problem or not solve the problem.
- "Good luck. I hope it works out."
- “Sounds good. I can’t wait to hear how that turns out for you.”
- Have no fear. If the child is fortunate enough to make a poor choice, he/she may have a double learning lesson.
(From Guiding Children to Solve their Own Problems (https://www.loveandlogic.com/a/info/guiding-children-to-solve-their-own-problems)
In addition, here is a Love and Logic video of how to respond to your child when they answer with “I don’t know”: Love and Logic Blog | How to handle “I don’t know” https://www.loveandlogic.com/a/info/blog/post/love-and-logic-blog-how-to-handle-i-dont-know
Two more resources that may help at home are:
- “Do it for Me!” How to Prevent Learned Helplessness in Young Kids https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/do-it-for-me-how-to-prevent-learned-helplessness-in-young-kids/
- A Bright Idea for Responding When Kids Say “I don’t know”
Gentle Reminder: Our school district will observe spring recess from Monday April 6th through Friday April 10th. This will be a time to relax with your families and create new memories or participate in established family traditions. Teachers will be on break during this time and therefore email communication will be deferred until the week of April 13th.
Please be well, embrace one another and treasure the many gifts that surround you.
Lisa Ryder, Principal